Traveling anywhere in the world alone as a female comes with inherent risks. Travel guides, word or mouth, or blog recommendations on destinations for solo female travelers have been the go-to resource for those going overseas alone. As the world goes more mobile, NomadHer, an application in which women can share experiences from travel has grown in popularity.
Even as an undergraduate in Ewha’s Divison of Communication & Media, NomadHer’s founder Kim Hyo- jeong was a passionate traveler. So far, she has traveled to over 40 countries. Her first solo trip took her to Paris via the trans-Siberian railway that starts in Russia’s far east city of Vladivostok.
Before boarding the train, Kim was subject to concerns from her friends and family. Most of this was about how dangerous it is for a young woman to travel alone. But Kim wanted to challenge this idea and tackle the general limitation placed on female solo travelers. This eventually led Kim to create NomadHer, an application to help female travelers navigate the world safely.
Travelling solo for females has always been fraught with dangers, especially in nations where violence against women is commonplace or where the status of women is lower than that of their male counterparts. In some cases, the idea of women’s rights struggle to even raise concern in many countries. This can all culminate in gendered violence aimed at women, such as the highly publicized murder of dual Venezuelan-American citizen Carla Steaniak by the accommodation security guard in Costa Rica.
With a focus on communication between those with solo travel experience and those without, NomadHer, according to Kim, was a place where she wanted those who have not yet gone on a solo trip to gain the courage and information to do so.
Kim sees solo traveling as a way to expose oneself to a completely different environment and culture that personally challenges you compared to going with groups. According to Kim, finding solutions to your problem alone is one of the biggest challenges, but rewarding experiences of solo travel.
“When you are traveling alone, talking to the local people and asking them for help is inevitable,” Kim said. “As you push yourself to approach people first and start achieving things as simple as finding directions in foreign places, a huge confidence musters up in you.”
However, traveling alone as a female is not an activity that is straight forward and there are many things that female solo travelers must consider. According to Kim these considerations are one of NomadHer’s core values – the spread of information such as safe and female friendly accommodation or reports on unsafe bars or clubs in frequently visited destinations. These are all confirmed through NomadHer user reviews.
Even though the application is predominately focused on providing solo female travelers with information, there is also group travel option as well. Users are able to find other users to share transport costs or travel together if needed.
NomadHer can essentially be seen as an expression of Kim’s experience and personal change she found while solo traveling. For Kim, it is a tool to help other women realize that they too can do the same things she did, but in a safe and secure way.
“I was able to figure out who I am, what kind of person I am, and what I am capable of doing through my journeys,” Kim said. “Like how NomadHer sounds similar to ‘no matter,’ I hope one day, all women could go on her journey by herself no matter where they are heading or when they are traveling.”